Before I hop into this list, let me start off with some background that explains the whole "why you should adopt" portion of the title.

I've wanted a dog for as long as I can remember -- when I was a little kiddo growing up in Salem, NH (the one with Canobie Lake, not the witches), my parents got the family two cats -- Nakita and Sasha. The place we brought them to be spayed botched both of them; Sasha ended up getting an infection and passing, and Nakita survived but ended up with some awkward fat hangy belly thing.

We ended up getting another cat named Gizmo (who was such a giver and left us dead mice and birds on the front step every day), and yeah, that's the story. Cats were basically my childhood.

I realize none of that has anything to do with dogs, but that's exactly why I've always wanted a dog -- because I never had one. I went through my entire childhood and adolescence dog-less, because that's just how it was. Same with my early adulthood, but that was more because every place I lived didn't allow pets (and I honestly thought I was too busy for one, anyway.)

Fast forward to last summerish -- I was still out in Tulsa and, for whatever reason, got hit by the dog bug again. But it was the same thing, I thought I was just too busy for one. I've always had the mindset that I don't want to get a dog (and always planned on adopting, by the way) just to have him/her either sit in a crate at home all day, or spend all day every day at a doggy daycare.

Then my friend Caitlin randomly sent me a picture of a dog up for adoption through New Life For Paws Foundation (based out of Aruba) with the message, "Get this dog."

I thought he was cute -- I mean, he was a 9-week-old puppy in his picture. Still not the right time, though. But then, for whatever reason, I looked into his story -- his name was Remington and he actually had a family all lined up to adopt him, and at the last minute, they bailed. For whatever reason, that struck such a cord with me. That pup HAD A HOME, and they decided LAST MINUTE they didn't want him.

I decided right then that their loss was going to be my gain -- I put in an application, a couple weeks later I became a dog dad to the BEST BOY, and the rest is history.

But anyway, I suppose I should hop into this list at some point, huh?

1. Unconditional Love: Like anything else would lead this list off? It doesn't matter WHAT happens between you and a dog throughout the day -- reject them from treats, stop playing with them when they're at peak energy -- they ALWAYS come back to you and give you ALL the love, as long as you show them the same. There's NOTHING like it.

Credit: Jadd - WOKQ

2. Intuitive: When I tell you that Remy knows me like the back of his paw. There was one point in Tulsa that wasn't my proudest moment, but I had a lot happen at once and all hit me at the same time, and I had a legit breakdown in my kitchen (not to be emo, but that's exactly what it was.) In that second, Remy literally stopped pounding the bells that were hanging on my door (signaling that he wanted to go outside) and ran over to me and jumped on me. Between that and him just being your typical goofball dog during rough patches during the 9 months of unemployment I just made it through -- I mean, dogs just KNOW when you need them a little extra.

3. Exercise: Especially if they're an energetic breed AND puppies, whether you realize it or not, dogs get you out of the house and active. Sure, some people run with their dogs, but I think Remy knows that all of THIS doesn't really run unless it's a life or death matter. But seriously, dogs will get out you and walking more, or even in the house playing with them. And exercise/activity releases the dopamine and endorphins which make you feel good (because I'm a Doctor now, apparently).

Credit: Jadd - WOKQ

4. The Greetings: Whether it's waking up in the morning or coming home from work, NO ONE will be as genuinely excited and happy to see you as your dog. Remy's crate is next to my bed, and I just leave it open so he can choose whether to sleep in his own bed or up in mine, but either way whenever I wake up, it's at least a solid 30 seconds of face-licking first thing in the morning. And forget about when I get home -- I barely get one foot in the door before he's jumping up going nose-to-nose with me. How is that NOT the best way to come home after a long day?

Credit: Jadd - WOKQ

5. Best friendship: No lie, Remy is already probably one of the best friends I've ever had, and I've only had him for a couple of weeks over a year. We know each others' mannerisms in and out, and it's weird to say you can depend on each other (because you don't think a human would need to depend on a dog), but it's 100% factual. There's NO relationship like a human and their dog. (Or cat, if you prefer. But this article is about dogs, so we're sticking with human and dog connection.)

If you choose to go through a breeder, no judgment. But from first-hand experience, when you create such a huge bond with your dog AND you adopt them, it's like you both legit go through your lives together knowing you legitimately rescued each other. Corny to say, but absolutely true.

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